Abhipsa Mohanty

A Memorable Night

Her hair shone in the silver moonlight; there she was sitting on the edge of the roof, late at night. The view of the city was beautiful. Peace was getting restored, everything was gradually getting fairer. But perhaps not for the likes of her. The great, wretched War had taken everything from her – simply everything. She had lost her house and her family. And now she had to adjust in this small, grimy flat and continue her studies. But the question was – could she have the courage to continue at all?

She wiped her tears away. She didn’t realize how long she had been crying. But she wouldn’t cry anymore. If she had decided to do this, then the last hour has to be filled with happiness. No use shedding any tears now. Thinking thus, she looked around. The place had changed a lot. The whole of Paris looked different now, as a matter of fact. The old days filled her mind – how everything had been when she had been, but a girl of nine. Her people belonged to the working class. How lovely the time was! A happy child, she had no complains about life. Loved and cared for a great deal, life couldn’t have had been better. She used to be fascinated with everything – the nature, the people and the houses. She used to get excited to feel the warm rays of the sun in the mornings and the cool evening air. And at nights the stars made her wonder with eager eyes, wonder about the vast universe beyond. And all the beautiful stories of far-off lands that her mother used to tell her…Yes, it was all very lovely. Really, the best years of a man’s life are the years of childhood. And those memories are forever cherished.

She smiled. And it was a happy smile that she did not have a heart to stifle. She also realized that she was feeling happy from the inside. This quite astonished her. She had no idea that her childhood memories would make her happy at such an hour. Presently, she looked around again. It was strange that the tall buildings that had seemed nothing but a mass of nasty, bleak concrete a few moments back, now seemed to be twinkling at her merrily with their electric lamps. Life was ever busy on the roads below. But, that did not look so drab and monotonous anymore.

The cool breeze soothed her tired face. She had understood the power that those memories had upon her. There was still the warm sun and the lovely nature. And all other beautiful things too – she still possessed them as memories. They hadn’t gone anywhere and she could always relive them whenever she desired. The thought gladdened her. Well, if mere memories had the power to transform all that is dull and ugly to a thing of beauty, why couldn’t she do so herself with her life, with a little change of ideas and a bit of effort? Definitely that would be possible. God, the creator of all, had given her this life and that probably due to a purpose. Then who was she to decide to take it away herself? No, that would be foolishness, sheer cowardice. She would move on, try to dodge or face difficulties and try to make her life a better one. And at times when all would turn weary and nasty, she could always fly away to the past and have her repose – the magic would happen again. She would always find there new courage and determination, from her memories. And if she continued, she would perhaps have many more such happy memories to collect.

And what mattered the most was that she was not alone. There were hundreds of people suffering from the after-effects of the French Revolution. It was a difficult time. Many had lost their loved ones. At first there was the upheaval, the rise of Napoleon; next came Robespierre and his reign of terror and his end. That was a time when things got a little better that time. But the country was war stricken. Robespierre fell. Gradually Napoleon fell. Then finally an end. She had been seen it all from the perceptions of a little to being an adult. And growing up in those times was difficult. If she had survived so far, those bad experiences shouldn’t make her give it all up. It was okay. She heaved a sigh of relief.

Thinking thus, Genevieve Lancaster got down from the parapet, with all the ideas of suicide vanished from her mind. She went downstairs to her flat to have dinner. The next day was going to be busy one. She would go out, sort her life out and make friends too. She could also help others suffering like her and give them hope.

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